Bugsy Malone

Year: 1976
Production Co: The Rank Organization
Director: Alan Parker
Writer: Alan Parker
Cast: Scott Baio, Jodie Foster

The plot almost doesn't matter to the position the movie occupies in cinema, and although it's cute and well made, I wasn't enamoured enough with it to rewatch it years later (as I thought I might when I realised I'd seen it but never reviewed it for this website).

It's the idea that stands out. I'm not sure if there was ever some subtext intended by writer/director Alan Parker in his debut movie – maybe something about how no matter who we are or how monumental we think our problems are, in the context of history we're little more than a bunch of kids throwing tantrums and imagining killing those who sleight us with toy guns.

But whatever he intended, he made an effortless classic in the prohibition-era comedy musical with a child cast. Based on the romantic ideals of the lives and times of 30-era mobsters, it tells the story of a low level mob fixer, Bugsy (Scott Baio, and I'll bet this role led in part to his series regular work in Happy Days), who works for speakeasy owner Fat Sam.

While Sam is constantly worried about a hostile takeover by his rival Dandy Dan, Bugsy has stars in his eyes for amateur singer Blousey, all while Fat Sam's moll Tallulah (Jodie Foster) in turn has eyes for him. While Bugsy tries to get his boxing promotion business off the ground, he promises he'll take Blousey west to make it in Hollywood – if they can all get out alive without being splurged (gunned down with whipped cream tommy guns).

I probably wouldn't respond overly to it these days, being as it's a musical, but I remember being thoroughly entertained by it when I first saw it some time in the 1980s on VHS.

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